This £9.99 Moisturiser Transformed My Skin (& Other Editors Are Sold, Too)

Photo by Jacqueline Kilikita.
If you were to take a look inside my bathroom cabinet, you'd find tens of half-used beauty products that are nice enough but not so impressive that I feel compelled to use them to the last drop. One of the most common beauty buys occupying lots of space and not paying rent is moisturiser.
If you use it (some people don't!) you'll know just how tricky it is to find the perfect product: something which nourishes and hydrates without resulting in breakouts, which imparts a natural glow in all the right places, protects your face from the environment and sits well under SPF and makeup. While skin types differ, there are a handful of simple, fuss-free moisturisers I like to recommend, such as Allies of Skin Peptides & Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment, £105, and Augustinus Bader's The Cream, £215. Even though they live up to the hype, the price tag is no doubt eye-watering.
At the start of the year, affordable skincare brand The Inkey List unveiled a handful of new skincare products and among them was Omega Water Cream. At just £9.99, the facial moisturiser is the cheapest product in my bursting skincare arsenal but believe me when I say it's one of the best. I'll start with the texture, which is somewhere between a lightweight gel and a silky cream. The formula is water-based so it's great for all skin types but particularly oily and acne-prone skin that doesn't do too well with thicker products (typical of most brands come winter).
The star ingredients are omegas, currently championed by countless skincare brands like Paula's Choice (the Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm, £25, is an R29 favourite for cleansing skin gently and effectively) and the cult brand New York girls love, Biossance (its Squalane & Omega Repair, £45, has five-star reviews all round).

What are the benefits of omegas in skincare?

You might've heard omega-3, 6 and 9 talked about in terms of nutrition and diet. Without subjecting you to a biology lesson, omega-3 is found in food such as fish oils and leafy greens. Omega-6 is typically derived from plant oils (like sunflower and grapeseed) and omega-9 also comes from plants (like olives) as well as nuts like macadamia.
In skincare, they are also referred to as omega fatty acids. Mark Curry, cofounder of The Inkey List, explains: "Omegas are vital fatty acids that every cell in your body needs to function properly — and the skin in particular needs these to be healthy, hydrated and radiant." Omega-3 and 6 are especially important in skincare, adds Mark, because your body doesn't make them naturally. "Hence the need for a balanced diet," continues Mark. "Even omega-9 is only made in the body in small doses."
According to Paula's Choice Skincare, these fatty acids strengthen the skin's barrier, keeping it smooth and healthy. Mark explains that protecting your skin barrier is particularly important if you experience eczema or rosacea. Fatty acids also keep moisture in the skin under lock and key — a must when winter weather and central heating zaps skin of its much-needed water content. When this happens, you're more likely to experience dry, rough, flaky and tight-feeling skin.
This winter, not much has been able to quench my thirsty face properly. Even after applying layer after layer of moisturiser, my skin felt like it might crack a few hours later. The delicate areas around my eyes and lips fell to pieces first, and I noticed a couple of flaky patches and accentuated fine lines. Stuck on what to do, I headed to Instagram to see which new products fellow beauty editors were bigging up — and a handful were going wild for Omega Water Cream. Convinced, I ditched everything else but cleanser and SPF from my AM to PM routine and proceeded to use just this.
Impressively, my skin felt great after just one go. The uncomfortable, taut feeling I'd contended with for weeks disappeared, and after just seven days my skin was considerably more glowy and even in both tone and texture. The omegas helped repair my dry, damaged skin (which was causing some redness) but they sit alongside a dream team of brilliant ingredients like glycerin, which helps pull moisture into the skin, 5% niacinamide (manages excess oil production and quells redness) and betaine (keeps skin hydrated). Mark also extols the virtues of omegas as anti-inflammatory ingredients. "They reduce the redness impact of acne alongside dark spots and pigmentation," he says. I can vouch for this, as I'm certain the moisturiser has helped to calm down a handful of angry, red spots that sprung up on my cheeks recently.
I think the best thing about this moisturiser is how easy it is to use. A pea-sized amount is ample and it absorbs in next to no time, leaving behind just the right hint of dewiness. It can be layered over serums containing buzzy ingredients like vitamin C in the daytime and retinol or acids at night. It's actually a cushion for potent ingredients like the above, especially if you have sensitive or reactive skin.

What are the best skincare products with omega fatty acids?

This face cream is so affordable, it's no wonder beauty editors and TikTokers are stockpiling it. If you want to experiment with other brands and products containing omega fatty acids, Drunk Elephant's F-Balm Electrolyte Water Facial, £44, is also an R29 tried and tested moisturiser, as is Paula's Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturiser, £33, and Elemis' new Superfood Midnight Facial, £40, which boasts omega-6 and 9.
If you really want to dial up your skin's omega content, layer your moisturiser over a serum like Kate Somerville DeliKate Recovery Serum, £86, which also contains nourishing ceramides, or if you're on a beauty budget, BeautyPro Revitalising Vitamin C,A,K,E Daily Serum, £15.
The wonder ingredient is also featured in a handful of very gentle cleansers and unlike other ingredients (such as retinol or exfoliating acids) you can double or even triple up on omegas. For dry skin, try Avène's XeraCalm A.D. Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil, £16.50. Other skin types will love Pai Skincare's Middlemist Seven Camellia and Rose Gentle Cream Cleanser, £19, or Youth To The People's Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm, £31, for removing makeup quickly.
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